Transport for NSW breaks down the state’s 2022 road toll

According to Transport for NSW, extreme wet weather events, easing of Covid travel restrictions and increased business activities across NSW have contributed to an increase in fatalities, with 288 people dying on NSW roads in 2022.

Tara McCarthy, deputy secretary of safety, environment and regulation at Transport for NSW, said while the overall road toll is up from the near 100-year-low of 275 in 2021, the number is below pre-Covid levels of an average 363 deaths a year (2017-19).

“In 2022, as many people returned to the roads and worked on shaping their new normal after two years of COVID restrictions, NSW faced a fresh set of challenges, with record rainfalls battering many parts of the state. Sadly, these factors contributed to an increase in the road toll to 288 from the historic low of 275 recorded in 2021,” Ms McCarthy said.

“Last year’s road toll is the third-lowest in the state since 1923 and remains below the pre-Covid average of 363 deaths a year.”

McCarthy said the NSW Government is committed to achieving its goal of zero deaths or serious injuries in NSW by 2050

“The road toll isn’t just a number. It’s someone’s mum, dad, son, daughter, partner, or friend. Any death or serious injury is one too many and the NSW Government is continuing to roll out plans to help drive down our toll,” said McCarthy.

Extreme weather conditions contributed to an increase in fatalities on wet roads across the state compared to 2021.

“Many communities across the state battled challenging weather conditions in 2022, with Sydney recording its wettest year since 1858. Sadly, 70 people lost their lives around the state on wet roads compared to 44 in 2021,” McCarthy explained.

Fatalities in metropolitan and country NSW climbed to 88 and 200 in 2022 but remained below the 2017-19 pre-COVID average.

McCarthy added that speeding, drink and drug driving and fatigue continue to be the leading factors involved in death and serious injuries on our roads.

“Last year, speeding contributed to 41 per cent of the road toll, with the majority of those being on country roads.

“Drug driving, drink driving and fatigue each contribute to about 14 to 20 per cent of deaths each year.

“With longer distances to cover in the bush, it’s all too easy to become complacent about road safety. But one poor decision or one moment’s lapse in concentration can be the difference between life and death.

“We are determined to make journeys in the regions safer for all road users and have already invested $640 million since 2018 as part of the Safer Roads Program’s Saving Lives on Country Roads Initiative to build critical safety infrastructure, such as wide centre lines and life-saving flexible safety barriers, to help prevent run-off-road and head-on crashes.”

In 2022, there were 25 local government areas across NSW remain fatality free, including six in metropolitan Sydney.

“This is a great result for those communities and demonstrates that a zero-road toll can be achieved,” McCarthy said.

Key facts

Fatalities on Country Roads and Metropolitan Roads

  • Fatalities on metropolitan roads increased from 81 in 2021 to 88 in 2022 but remain 25 per cent below the 2017-19 pre-covid levels (118).
  • With the easing of COVID travel restrictions and increased business activity, fatalities on country roads also increased in 2022, up from 194 in 2021 to 200 in 2022 to lie 18 per cent below the 2017-19 pre-covid levels (245).

Driver, passenger, cyclist, and pedestrian fatalities:

  • There have been more deaths among passengers as compared to last year (up from a historic low of 29 in 2021 to 43 in 2022), pedestrians (up from 41 to 48) and drivers (up from 133 to 134).

Heavy trucks

  • We’ve seen a small reduction in the number of fatalities from heavy truck crashes, down from 52 in 2021 to 46 in 2022.


  • Pleasingly, 2022 saw the number of motorcyclists killed decrease to 55 compared with 63 in 2021.

Fatalities by age/gender groups

  • We’ve seen increases in the number of females killed, up from 63 in 2021 to 77 in 2022, as well as a slight fall in males killed, down from 212 in 2021 to 211 in 2022.
  • There was a reduction in deaths of road users aged 40 to 49, from 41 in 2021 to 33 in 2022.
  • For the first time since records began in 1936, there were no recorded deaths in 2022 among children aged under 5 years.
  • The age groups that experienced the greatest increase in road deaths in 2021 were 5 to 16 year olds (from 15 to 19), 30 to 39 year olds (from 28 to 32) and 70+ year olds (from 51 to 62).

Speed, Drink, drug driving and fatigue

  • Excessive or inappropriate speed continues as the leading behavioural factor in 2022 accounting for 41 per cent of fatalities.
  • Drug driving, drink driving and fatigue each contribute to about 14 to 20 per cent of deaths each year.
  • Fatigue is one of the leading killers on our roads, contributing to 14 per cent of fatalities in 2022.
  • During the first nine months of 2022 fatalities from crashes involving an illegal level of alcohol were down by three (down from 35 in 2021 to 32 in 2022).
  • During the first nine months of 2022, fatalities from crashes involving the presence of an illicit drug were down by three (from 43 to 40) compared to the same period in 2021.

Local / Unclassified roads

  • Fatalities on local/unclassified roads decreased from 113 in 2021 to 96 in 2022.
  • Similarly, fatalities on 50 km/h roads decreased from 52 in 2021 to 35 in 2022.

LGAs with the lowest and highest fatalities

  • Wingecarribee and the Central Coast LGAs (both in regional NSW) had the highest number of fatalities in 2022.
    • Wingecarribee recorded 13 fatalities (including five from the Buxton car crash in September 2022); and
    • Central Coast had nine people killed on their roads.
  • There were 25 fatality-free LGAs across the state including six (Ryde, Randwick, Strathfield, Canada Bay, Hornsby and Hunters Hill) in the Sydney metropolitan area.

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